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Were Football Fans Right to Boo England Players During the Community Shield?


The Premier League season officially kicked off on Sunday with Manchester United grabbing the first available piece of silverware on offer by beating Chelsea 3-1 at Wembley in front of large audience.

The match opened with a frenetic pace as both sides saw early chances come and go with no end result. Paul Scholes enjoyed a man of the match performance as he continually picked out passes with accuracy and precision. United used width through Antonio Valencia in attack while Chelsea’s Michael Essien and Florent Malouda were largely responsible for their positive forward moves.

The match ebbed and flowed with exciting and dull moments. A myriad of substitutions were used throughout the day and United fans got to see Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez make his competitive debut and score a quite incredible goal that actually went off his face and in.

One thing I noticed however very early on in the match were large portions of fans from both sides booing the England players when they touched the ball. First it was Ashley Cole, then John Terry, Wayne Rooney and even Fabio Capello as the crowd let the underachieving England players know exactly how they felt concerning England’s poor World Cup display.

The idea of Chelsea and Manchester United fans specifically targeting only England players with booing again brings the club v country debate to the forefront of football. As upset and unforgiving as the England fans were after the World Cup, why boo the England players during a club match? Why not wait until England’s next friendly v Hungary this Wednesday at the very same venue to let your frustrations out?

I myself have never been one for booing. Although I support a fan’s right to do it, it’s never really interested me or been a part of my personality. I get the fact that when you’re upset about something, you want to let your voice be heard, especially when you’ve paid your hard earned money to support your country. But I believe the fans who booed the English players on Sunday during a club match were ill-timed and inappropriate.

The lackluster effort from the fans in their displays of disapproval were ultimately washed out by a sort of ‘call and response’ cheering from the opposition fans. When United would boo, Chelsea would cheer. The gesture, although passionate and honest, was a waste of time and had little lasting effect on the game itself as it progressed.

I’m just one supporter with one voice. If you’re an England fan, how did you feel when only the English players were booed during the Community Shield? If you were at Wembley, how many Chelsea and United fans actually booed the English players? Does booing even have a place in football, or is it a silly ritual that has no lasting effect on the players who receive the treatment?

Even as Capello has named a new look England, if Sunday’s Community Shield sets precedence and is the appetizer, then Wednesday’s friendly v Hungary will be the main course for England fans who haven’t yet forgiven their heroes for such a dismal display at the World Cup. If the boo-birds come out on Wednesday, which they’re sure to do, at least the protest will be a more appropriate and focused display of disapproval than the Community Shield was on Sunday.

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  1. samson olaonipekun

    August 11, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    its not really o.k for some players to bee booed it actually disturbs theman makes dem to loose concentration i think rooney was removed because of d booes 4rm chelsea fans .

  2. Tom

    August 9, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I’m a Chelsea fan and I was there and I booed Rooney, as I always do whenever he plays. He had a particularly bad World Cup, but he’s generally hated by most Chelsea fans and lots of other fans for his behaviour, his lack of respect for referees/anyone etc.
    As Eric said, everyone boos Ashley Cole. I’ve been up to Sunderland where they booed him because his wife is from Newcastle. EVERYONE booes Cole, and the same goes for Terry after his off-field behaviour.
    Notable that Frank Lampard didn’t receive many booes; perhaps it wasn’t just because of the World Cup?
    Indeed, Ashley Cole was the only England player to play at all well out there, and yet received the loudest boos – because United fans (like most fans, even some Chelsea fans) hate him more than anyone else.

  3. Attaturk

    August 9, 2010 at 8:13 am

    I really thought it was just more Chelsea fans booing Rooney because that’s what they do and Man U fans booing Terry because that’s what they do, and everybody booing Ashley Cole b/c that’s what everyone wants to do. The World Cup might have just added to the intensity.

    It would be interesting to compare it to last year’s Community Shield since the same two teams played. I watched that one to and don’t really remember.

  4. patrick

    August 8, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Jesse, the outrage in England is pretty palpable. And really shouldn’t it be? Think about it. England Beat Algeria or the USA and they win the group. Then have to face Ghana and then Uruguay. England always battle the Dutch well and even if they lose, the Semis is where most thinking fans thought they’d peter out.

    Its hard to believe now but David Beckham was boo’d all throughout England after his red V Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. England lost on spot kicks that day. People hung his image in effigy.

    No one is fake lynching Rooney, Terry, Lampard and Gerrard. They will boo them. And they deserve it. Call it a reality check. The fans pay these guys. They are English, and expect you to stand up for the country and play like you are English. Just listen to Three Lions a few times by Baddiel & Skinner. any of the versions… That is the English anxiety defined.

    If I worked at the FA I would have given out free tickets to the match Wednesday to anyone who went to South Africa to see the team play. Even if the game was played at a lose.

    As for you not liking booing. You should try it. Its rather cathartic, and is a proven way of releasing inner anxiety.

  5. UpTheBlues

    August 8, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Of course they have the right to boo. If I went to the match, I would have booed Rooney as well.

  6. Jim

    August 8, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    When I first heard the booing on the television I thought that while either side was booing Terry and Rooney respectively, everyone in the stadium was booing Cole. Didn’t he say some nasty things about the English fans after the world cup? Or maybe the wonderful English press took his comments and made up stuff from him. I know one thing, they should have showed Capello on a jumbotron so that everyone could boo him too.

  7. Sir Guy

    August 8, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Have to part with you on this one, Jesse. They are paid, professional athletes. They have to take whatever the fans feel like dishing out. Booing players and second guessing managers are inalienable rights of the fans.

    But, then, I’m from Philadelphia.

  8. Machojesus

    August 8, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    I didn’t see the match but that picture you have on here makes it look like the roof was closed at Wembley for this one. Was it?

    • The Gaffer

      August 8, 2010 at 8:54 pm

      MachoJesus, I don’t think it was the roof. It was, I believe, the large shadows that were cast over the pitch caused by the stadium roof and the sun beaming down on Wembley Stadium.

      The Gaffer

      • Machojesus

        August 9, 2010 at 8:14 am

        Ah I see. Thanks Gaffer.

  9. Michael K.

    August 8, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    I think it is OK for the England fans to boo the players who played in South Africa. Most of those fans today at Wembley were not in South Africa so it’s just their way of showing their discontent. As long as the booing doesn’t last beyond a game or two I’m OK with it. And yes, the England players should definitely be reminded of how awful they were. How else will they know what the fans actually think of their perfromances.

  10. The Gaffer

    August 8, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Supporters have the right to boo. I don’t want to have that taken away from them but I thought it was in poor taste that they were booing. Yes, England was awful in the World Cup. But they know they screwed up and don’t need supporters booing them to remind them of it. England supporters from here on need to get behind a team they can believe in. Booing players is not going to set up that type of environment in the England camp.

    The Gaffer

    • Bishopville Red

      August 8, 2010 at 7:55 pm

      Good points Gaffer, but I’m not sure I totally agree. If there’s one thing we know these days, it’s that modern footballers are soooo out of touch with reality, we can’t be certain they’ve accepted blame for the debacle in South Africa. Considering how John Terry thought he was going to improve the situation by trying to stab the boss in the back and generally throw kerosene on the fire, there’s a bit of evidence out there to support my point.

      I’m also not sure if it’s so much reminding them of poor play, as it is introducing them to the concept that they don’t walk on water.

      • brn442

        August 8, 2010 at 10:47 pm

        Bishopville – stop making sense, you’re a 100% right – I think The Gaffer is over-protective of the England players. We’re not talking about New Zealand or Ghana here, two teams that went beyond the expectations of most this past summer. We’re talking about an England team whimpering out of the (hopefully) last world cup for remnants of the so-called “golden” generation. I still think that most of the team’s problems in South Africa originated from poor/over-coaching, however, the players must still take responsibility for their poor performances.

        With former fellow under-achievers Holland reaching at least, their 4th major final and Spain doing “the double”. England is now on her own, who’s in danger of having her footballing history questioned.

  11. SantaClaus

    August 8, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Of course fans have a right to boo England’s World Cup team given how poorly the team played. They absolutely deserve to be booed. As long as it is not followed by nasty personal attacks on the players, booing is fine.

  12. Wolves in SC

    August 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    It’s always been the case that players cast in the villain’s role at the World Cup will suffer the following season. Remember Beckham’s 1998-99 premier league season? As most of the team shared the blame this time, there will be plenty of booing at plenty of games.

    I would be surprised if the England team is initially booed at Wembley on Wednesday though. Only the most loyal fans are likely to attend after all.

  13. Shakira

    August 8, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    They paid money to see the match , they can boo whomever they want.

  14. Jon

    August 8, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I wasn’t at the game so I am going by television and the commentators but to me it seemed that right away the United fans went after Terry and Cole with the booing, and then in response the Chelsea fans booed Rooney. I have to agree with Eric that Lampard didn’t seem to be getting the same treatment, although yes he wasn’t that involved early when this was going on.

    • patrick

      August 8, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      Many games we see of FSC don’t have commentators at the match… I can’t say for certain, but they could be in a sound proof room with a mic and a tv screen. So fan observations can be… well wrong.

  15. hunterjinx

    August 8, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Eric, what “family” are you talking about??? Rooney didn’t get booed because he sucked in the WC? You are completely delusional.

    This has less to do with club sides in a game where we saw a very impressive United.

    The fans absolutely have the right to voice their disgust, although this charity event isn’t the most thoughtful place to express it.

    • eric

      August 9, 2010 at 2:35 am

      hunterjinx, you’re a complete idiot! i was referring to the fact that until john terry starting boinking wayne bridge’s wife, vanessa perroncel, wayne had a perfectly happy family life. he had a wife and a son, jaydon. now he has a divorce and child support all b/c of john terry. this is why the crowd booed john terry. do you understand that yet?
      ashley cole got booed b/c he sold his soul to chelsea when abramovich bought the club. in response to 2 of their favorite players being booed, chelsea supporters decided they would boo man utd’s favorite player, wayne rooney. the booing has absolutely nothing to do with the world cup. do i need to draw a picture for you?

      • Ben Ruskin

        August 9, 2010 at 2:41 am

        While I am not at all trying to defend Terry, i do believe the woman was Bridge’s ex girlfriend, not wife, so technically not family.

        • eric

          August 9, 2010 at 3:04 am

          the point is that the woman is bridge’s son’s mother and terry went behind bridge’s back

        • Bishopville Red

          August 9, 2010 at 9:35 am

          If you have a baby with her, you’re connected for life. That’s a thicker bond than a simple husband / wife. Ashely Cole can divorce his girl and never see her again. That won’t be the case for Bridge, even though he never married her.

  16. Jesse Chula

    August 8, 2010 at 2:02 pm


    Yes Ashley Cole gets booed a lot, but not every game, or everywhere he goes. I believe it was terribly obvious that the England players who were getting booed were getting the treatment because they represented England at the World Cup.

    Did Frank Lampard even touch the ball in the first half?

    Even the match commentators noticed this.

    • patrick

      August 8, 2010 at 10:32 pm

      Just cause someone on TV says something, doesn’t make it reality. just watch Fox News, that 99% pure fantasy and vitriol.

      that said… I think it was elevated booing due to the frustration of the footballing summer.

  17. eric

    August 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    ashley cole was booed b/c everyone boos ashley cole, he’s a money grubbing traitor. john terry was booed b/c of what he ruined wayne bridge’s family and in response to this the chelsea fans booed wayne rooney. this has nothing to do with england’s performance in the world cup. you didn’t hear frank lampard being booed did you? and he played like crap the whole world cup.

    • patrick

      August 8, 2010 at 10:29 pm

      did you hear the Man U fan retort… When Rooney was booed, they finished it with a NEEEY.

      It sounded like BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (pause) NEEEEY

      and I think Lampard and Terry will both get boooo’d at Upton Park, but that’s just a guess.

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